Loch Tay was a place that I had become well acquainted with. I’d spent ample time sauntering through Kenmore village on the eastern side of Loch Tay. However, I was keen to see what lay at the other side of the loch, surrounded by cloud-tipped hills which were dressed head to toe in thick forests.
Killin is perched on the western banks of Loch Tay. The name was enough to draw me in, slightly eerie and intriguing.
The name Killin comes from the Gaelic ‘Cill Fhinn’. There are conflicting beliefs about the origins of the name. ‘Cill Fhinn’ means ‘white church’. However there is also a theory that the name comes from the belief that Fingal, a mythical hero in the Ossian saga, is buried in a field behind the village.
Killin is a historic conservation village and is actually sat within the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. Therefore I had high hopes that the village and surrounding area would be beautiful.
It was a cold, drizzly day when we jumped in our car and made the drive from Kenmore to Killin. The drive was estimated to take nearly 30 minutes, an indication of just how long Loch Tay really is.
The road ran along the loch, within the pine-covered hills. Whilst we were driving, I kept looking to the loch and seeing if I recognised areas from our boating trip the previous day. We stopped a couple of times along the route to take pictures as there were some stunning view-points.
Half an hour later, we arrived in Killin village. Unfortunately, when we arrived, the dark, grey clouds that had been looming above us throughout the weekend finally opened up and heavy rain began to fall. Killin was surrounded by hills but it was impossible to see the summits as low clouds swallowed them up. We decided to have some lunch and wait for the rain to pass.
We walked through the village and found a nice little café to have some lunch. I had a cup of tea and a ham sandwich which came with crisps. It reminded me of my childhood.
When we finished our lunch, the rain was still going strong. We weren’t prepared to let a little rain spoil our day.
We went to the Killin Outdoor Centre as we saw some kayaks and canoes outside their shop. We inquired about taking one out. They recommended that we use a kayak instead of a Canadian canoe as it was safer for beginners like us. We booked to go out for 3 hours.
The shop assistant walked us across the road where there was a river. There were several kayaks laid out on the grassy bank. The river was called River Lochay and joins Loch Tay.
We were given lifejackets and a waterproof bag where we could keep our valuables. Then, we jumped in the kayak and off we went.
The rain was relentless. I was certainly grateful for the waterproof bag. Kayaking down the river was so peaceful. We hardly passed any houses. On either side of the river was mostly vegetation: trees, rolling hills, reeds and long grass. The trip was mostly silent apart from the plashing of raindrops and our ores dipping into the water. I preferred the kayaking to yesterday’s boat ride. There’s something so relaxing and peaceful about kayaking that motor boats will never have due to the thunderous motors.
The river eventually opened up into the loch and I was blown away by the beauty of the surroundings. Great green hills loomed around the vast expanse of clear water. There were a few little islands in the middle of the loch that were contemplating stopping on but eventually decided against it. Long grass grew out of the water around these islands, kind of like a marsh.
At one point, we were passed by a family of swans with lots of little signets. It was adorable.
Three hours went by very fast and I hardly noticed just how sodden I was. My seat was filled with water. When I shifted around, I could feel the puddle beneath me and hear it squelching. Eek!
When we arrived back at the car, we were a sorry state. We didn’t bring any towels with us because we just didn’t anticipate this. I took off a fair bit of my dripping clothes and wrapped myself in my coat, which was at least dry on the inside. It was a cold drive back to the lodge and a hot bath was definitely on the menu!
Kayaking in Killin ended up being one of my absolute favourite things that I did in the Loch Tay area of Scotland. For a full list of my favourite activities you can do in the area read my blog post on my absolute favourite things to do near Loch Tay.